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Unread 05-06-2011, 10:22 PM
blacklotus blacklotus is offline
Jiri Jammer
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: n/a
Posts: 47
trainer/ trainee relationship in Korea?

At a gym tonight I observed a sight I found simply strange. I don't know the exact nature of it, as I scarcely speak any Korean and therefore couldn't understand what was being said.

The man who runs the gym (a strong climber himself) was speaking at times in a rather loud voice to a young male climber who was practicing a technique. The younger climber spoke nothing in reply and was visibly miserable. He looked sheepish and humiliated, yet continued to return to the wall when prompted to. This lasted for twenty minutes or more. From my perspective (behind the language barrier) the words and actions of the older climber seemed almost punitive.

Basically, wtf? I have a background in athletic training, and I acknowledge there is more than one effective approach to coaching. And I acknowledge that to command another person in Korean culture is generally much better accepted than in the modern Western world. But how can inspiring in your trainee (what appeared to me) a sense of fear and dejection have any athletic benefit? It simply can't. If you want to train someone to adapt to climbing under social tension, then sure, that's a fine approach. But climbing is you and the wall. If social tension is an issue, then ditch your partner and find a new one. So was this particular older climber just an a--hole, or is this sort of relationship common in Korean climbing? Or is there some other plausible interpretation of what I observed?
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Unread 05-07-2011, 10:20 AM
Atlus Atlus is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Songtan
Posts: 36

It's easy to misinterpret their tone here. I was climbing in Sinban with a few Koreans and they would be shouting at me (and their friends) as I climbed. It was all high-fives though once I touched the ground. One of them even gave me a fist bump. I wasn't there though for your particular situation so it's hard to comment...however, I think of the Korean language as the German of Asia. It's gonna sound angry. So try not to take it personally and don't try to sweet talk anyone with it.

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Unread 05-07-2011, 11:12 AM
blacklotus blacklotus is offline
Jiri Jammer
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: n/a
Posts: 47
I agree about the language here, that like you say it's the German of this continent. I gathered this after observing sports day at my school, and realizing that the PE coach was simply coordinating the events rather than instilling fear in our students.

So I acknowledge that. But this kid was visibly miserable. If anything the older climber was telling him was meant as genuine encouragement, it had no effect on his spirits. The only hand gesture I recall was a pointed finger literally pressed against him. That pissed me off, and between that and the horrendous k-pop on the stereo I decided to leave.

Because I don't know the exact nature of what I observed I won't name the gym, but it's not in 안양시.

Ah well!
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Unread 09-30-2011, 11:48 PM
blacklotus blacklotus is offline
Jiri Jammer
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: n/a
Posts: 47
I'm presently climbing here (half out of desperation, since the nearest alternative is 45 minutes away). It is the weirdest gym I have ever been to, anywhere. Instead of climbing, people do "yoga" and other floor exercises whilst watching Korean TV dramas (the really emotional ones...)

Anyway, I observed similar interaction tonight between the instructor and the young guy. Eventually, the young guy was in tears, right in the presence of the yoga people, just sitting and listening silently to his instructor talking on and on.

This is a male climber who climbs at least 5.12 sport, maybe 5.13. He's maybe not the strongest climber, but his technique is excellent, and for his age, with different training and a different trainer, he could be super strong.

Has anyone observed anything else like this (in Korea or anywhere)? Again, I can't tell what is being said, but whatever the situation is, it appears totally pathological and just bizarre in a climbing context. Isn't climbing supposed to be really fun?
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